By Kim French, Director of Resource Centers
Congratulations to Cheri Wickert who has been awarded GSNI’s Volunteer Spotlight for January 2023!
Growing up, Cheri had a childhood complete with 12 years of Girl Scouts, as she participated from first grade through her senior year of high school. She was fortunate enough to have her mom as one of her troop leaders and to earn her Girl Scout Silver Award.
As an adult, Cheri has been volunteering for seven years and has filled a variety of roles including troop leader for Troop 2189 and Lee Service Unit’s Event Coordinator, along with being the Service Unit Treasurer and Service Unit Day Camp Coordinator. In 2018, Cheri was honored as a recipient of GSUSA’s Volunteer of Excellence Award. In 2020, she received GSUSA’s Appreciation Pin Award. These are wonderful accomplishments!
Michelle Wiederholtz, one of GSNI’s Member Support Specialists, nominated Cheri stating, “She has been a volunteer with GSNI for several years now, starting at a parent meeting and raising her hand. Cheri is full of wonderful ideas, enthusiastic, and thinks outside the box when it comes to events in the Lee Service Unit area. Cheri does an excellent job spreading the word about Girl Scouts, not only for her troop, but for all the service unit. Even having the Mayor of Dixon proclaim Girl Scout Week an honor and inviting Girl Scouts to the city council meeting to be recognized. Cheri helps with recruitment events in her area and is always the first to step up and think of fun ways to get new girls involved. Cheri is a rockstar who loves the girls in her troop like her own!”
Many of our volunteers cherish special Girl Scout memories. When asked about Cheri’s favorite Girl Scout moment, she replied, “My favorite memories as a girl were all our trips, seeing the country one campsite at a time. As a volunteer it was my first event planned as Service Unit Event Coordinator. We had a Mom and Me Tea Party where the dads served the girls. The ladies, big and small, were dressed up in their prettiest dresses and the men in their suits and tuxedos. The girls had lemonade, cookies, played bingo, did crafts with mom, and took a lot of pictures at the photo booth. It was nice to see the girls have so much fun with their moms!”
“As leaders, we have always let the girls choose their experiences. I feel this keeps them engaged and continues their interest in Girl Scouts.” Cheri shared how her troop integrates The Three Processes (girl-led, learn by doing, cooperative learning) into their Girl Scout experience. She continued, “Our girls also love all community service and hands-on everything! We love that they want to help any group that is in need. We try to pass on teachings to them, and we get some in return from them.”
When asked why she volunteers, Cheri commented “I volunteer because I want to give my daughter the same experience of Girl Scouts that I had as a girl. I had wonderful leaders back then and want to be that for my daughter and her friends. Volunteering can have its ups and downs, but the ups make it all worthwhile. Seeing these girls come out of their shells, become their own, and become independent is truly amazing.”
To other Girl Scout volunteers and parents, Cheri suggests, “There may be tough times, but those little ears and eyes see and hear you! I am still thankful for the leaders I had as a Girl Scout and for the experiences I was fortunate to have. The girls will remember you as well! Leaders need to use each other as resources. We have all been there and can definitely help!”
Thank you, Cheri! It’s so rewarding to have wonderful volunteers like you supporting GSNI!
GSNI wishes to thank Patty Donahue and Image Awards Engraving and Creative Keepsakes in Geneva, Illinois, for proving the beautiful tile trivet awards for our Volunteer Spotlight Program.